Catholic higher education

Last updated
Main building of the Catholic University in Ruzomberok, Slovakia Budova katolicka univerzita v ruzomberku.JPG
Main building of the Catholic University in Ružomberok, Slovakia
Catholic University of Toulouse, Toulouse, France Ancienne fonderie de canons - Institut catholique de Toulouse.jpg
Catholic University of Toulouse, Toulouse, France
Chapel of the faculty of medicine of Saint Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon Chapel of the faculty of medicine of Saint Joseph University, Beirut.jpg
Chapel of the faculty of medicine of Saint Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon

Catholic higher education includes universities, colleges, and other institutions of higher education privately run by the Catholic Church, typically by religious institutes. Those tied to the Holy See are specifically called pontifical universities.

University Academic institution for further education

A university is an institution of higher education and research which awards academic degrees in various academic disciplines. Universities typically provide undergraduate education and postgraduate education.

College higher education institution

A college is an educational institution or a constituent part of one. A college may be a degree-awarding tertiary educational institution, a part of a collegiate or federal university, an institution offering vocational education or a secondary school.

Higher education is tertiary education leading to award of an academic degree. Higher education, also called post-secondary education, third-level or tertiary education, is an optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after completion of secondary education. It represents levels 6, 7 and 8 of the 2011 version of the International Standard Classification of Education structure. Tertiary education at non-degree level is sometimes referred to as further education or continuing education as distinct from higher education.


By definition, Catholic canon law states that "A Catholic school is understood to be one which is under control of the competent ecclesiastical authority or of a public ecclesiastical juridical person, or one which in a written document is acknowledged as Catholic by the ecclesiastical authority" (Can. 803). Although some schools are deemed "Catholic" because of their identity and a great number of students enrolled are Catholics, it is also stipulated in canon law that "no school, even if it is in fact Catholic, may bear the title 'Catholic school' except by the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority" (Can. 803 §3).

The Dominican Order was "the first order instituted by the Church with an academic mission", [1] founding studia conventualia in every convent of the order, and studia generalia at the early European universities such as the University of Bologna and the University of Paris. In Europe, most universities with medieval history were founded as Catholic. Many of them were rescinded to government authourities in the Modern era. Some, however, remained Catholic, while new ones were established alongside the public ones. The Catholic Church is still the largest non-governmental provider of higher education in the world. Many of them are still internationally competitive. According to the census of the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education, the total number of Catholic universities and higher education institutions around the world is 1,358. On the other hand, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops counts it at 1,861. The Catholic religious order with the highest number of universities around the world today is the Society of Jesus with 114. [2]

Dominican Order Roman Catholic religious order

The Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominican Order, is a mendicant Catholic religious order founded by the Spanish priest Dominic of Caleruega in France, approved by Pope Innocent III via the Papal bull Religiosam vitam on 22 December 1216. Members of the order, who are referred to as Dominicans, generally carry the letters OP after their names, standing for Ordinis Praedicatorum, meaning of the Order of Preachers. Membership in the order includes friars, nuns, active sisters, and affiliated lay or secular Dominicans.

Convent Religious community

A convent is either a community of priests, religious brothers, religious sisters, monks or nuns; or the building used by the community, particularly in the Catholic Church, Lutheran Churches, and the Anglican Communion.

<i>Studium generale</i> Latin locution with what was called the institution of higher education in the Middle Ages

Studium generale is the old customary name for a medieval university in medieval Europe.

Like other private schools, Catholic universities and colleges are generally nondenominational, in that they accept anyone regardless of religious affiliation, nationality, ethnicity, or civil status, provided the admission or enrollment requirements and legal documents are submitted, and rules and regulations are obeyed for a fruitful life on campus. However, non-Catholics, whether Christian or not, may or may not participate in otherwise required campus activities, particularly those of a religious nature.

Campus land on which a college or university and related institutional buildings are situated

A campus is traditionally the land on which a college or university and related institutional buildings are situated. Usually a college campus includes libraries, lecture halls, residence halls, student centers or dining halls, and park-like settings.

Partial list of universities




Austral University (Argentina)

Austral University is a private university in Argentina, based in Buenos Aires and with seats in Pilar and Rosario. It is ranked as the best Private University in Argentina. Since 2011, the university has begun a consolidation process where the Pilar Campus has become the primary seat. This project seeks to create and foster the local community by adding value to the city of Pilar and offering a unique learning environment for its students. Some postgraduate courses will still be offered in downtown Buenos Aires at the CAI.

The Catholic University of Santiago del Estero (UCSE) is an institution created by a group of lay Catholics in collaboration with the Congregation of the Brothers of Mercy, and was inaugurated on June 21, 1960, as the Instituto Universitario San José de Ciencias Políticas, Sociales y Económicas.

Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina ahre

The Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, whose full name in Spanish is Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina "Santa María de los Buenos Aires", also known as Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA), is a university in Argentina with campuses in the cities of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Rosario, Paraná, Mendoza and Pergamino. The main campus is located in Puerto Madero, one of the most modern neighborhoods of Buenos Aires.








Burkina Faso




Public universities that continue to claim Catholic affiliation

Catholic institutions affiliated or federated to public universities

Private Catholic universities




Congo, Democratic Republic of

Costa Rica



Czech Republic

Dominican Republic

East Timor


El Salvador















See alsoVatican

Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire)















New Zealand






Papua New Guinea




There are more than 40 universities — besides many colleges — in the Philippine Catholic Church. Among these universities are:


In Poland also work faculties of theology in some public universities.


Puerto Rico



Sierra Leone




South Africa

South Sudan


Sri Lanka










United Arab Emirates

United Kingdom

United States

There are 244 Catholic higher education degree-granting institutions in the United States. [3] Among the most well known are:







Academic rankings

Some of the universities, including Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, are ranked in the top list of universities according to the Times Higher Education journal. [4] There is so far no list of academic rankings of Catholic universities. In the United States, U.S. News & World Report magazine provides the Best Colleges ranking; University of Notre Dame, Georgetown University, and Boston College have been scored as top Catholic national universities.

See also

Related Research Articles

This lists of law schools is organized by world region and then country.

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile Chilean university

The Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (UC) is one of the six Catholic Universities existing in the Chilean university system and one of the two Pontifical Universities in the country, along with the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso. It is also one of Chile's oldest universities and one of the most recognized educational institutions in Latin America. According to the QS Ranking, its Faculty of Law ranks 44th in the world, and its Faculty of Education ranks 21st worldwide. It was ranked 1st university in Latin America in 2018 according to the same QS ranking.

In Chile, universidades tradicionales is the group of universities founded before the 1980s. It usually includes universities derived from traditional ones. A more precise term is Universidades del Consejo de Rectores.

Pontifical universities are higher education ecclesiastical schools established or approved directly by the Holy See, composed of three main ecclesiastical faculties and at least one other faculty. These academic institutes deal specifically with the Christian revelation and related disciplines, and the Church's mission of spreading the Gospel, as proclaimed in the Apostolic Constitution both "Sapientiachristiana". Many of them, on the other hand, have most of their students studying secular topics. They are governed by the apostolic constitution Veritatis gaudium issued by Pope Francis.

Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso

The Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso (PUCV), also known as Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (UCV), is a university of approximately 14,000 students located in Valparaíso, Chile.

The Daegu Catholic University is a private research university in Daegu, South Korea. DCU is known for its academic strength, especially in the field of medical, pharmacy, health science, psychology, social science, education etc.

Universidad Católica, Spanish for "Catholic university", may refer to:

An undergraduate degree is a colloquial term for an academic degree earned by a person who has completed undergraduate courses. In the United States, it is usually offered at an institution of higher education, such as a college or university. The most common type of these undergraduate degrees are associate's degree and bachelor's degree. Bachelor's degree typically takes at least three or four years to complete. In some other educational systems, undergraduate education is post-secondary education up to the level of a master's degree; this is the case for some science courses in Britain and some long-cycle medicine courses in Europe. These degrees can be categorised as basic or first professional degrees.

Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico University

The Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico is a Roman Catholic university with its main campus in Ponce, Puerto Rico. It provides courses leading to Bachelor's, Master's and Doctorate degrees in the areas of education, business administration, science, and arts and human studies. The university is also home to a Law School and, in August 2010, it inaugurated a School of Architecture in downtown Ponce. The university's original name, Universidad Católica de Santa Maria, was changed in 1950 to Catholic University of Puerto Rico with the graduation of its first class. On 25 January 1991, the name was again changed to its current name, after Pope John Paul II bestowed the title of pontifical.

The Salesian Pontifical University is a pontifical university in Italy run by the Salesian order. It has three campuses, one in Rome, one in Turin and one in Jerusalem.

An ecclesiastical university is a special type of higher education school recognised by the Canon law of the Catholic Church. It is one of two types of universities recognised, the other type being the Catholic university. Every single ecclesiastical university is a pontifical university, while only a few Catholic universities are pontifical.

Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador Ecuatorian university

The Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE) is a Pontifical Catholic university founded in 1946 in Quito, Ecuador.


  1. Pirerre Mandonnet, "Order of Preachers" Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913; Accessed 12-31-12
  2. Sophia University
  3. "Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities". Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
  4. "The University Rankings 2010", The World University Rankings